While the county's public school teams played their Week 8 games on Thursday night, the area's private schools have the stage tonight.
And Cambridge Christian, Carrollwood Day School and Berkeley Prep have plenty on the line. With just four weeks left in the regular season, tonight's matchups could go a long way toward cementing playoff spots for the three.
Carrollwood Day and Cambridge face off in a Class 2A, District 5 matchup. Both teams trail leader Indian Rocks Christian (5-1 in league play), and Carrollwood Day is tied for second with Admiral Farragut at 4-1. Cambridge, which is fourth with a 3-3 league mark, desperately needs a win.
Meanwhile, Berkeley Prep goes for its fifth straight win, at home against Clearwater Central Catholic; while Jesuit hosts undefeated Lakewood.
Cambridge Christian (4-3, 3-3 in Class 2A, District 5) at Carrollwood Day School (6-1, 4-1), 4 p.m.
Last Week: Carrollwood Day defeated Bradenton Christian 56-35; Cambridge defeated Keswick Christian 30-26.
Why you should go: To see two of the best athletes in the area. Cambridge relies on big doses of RB-WR Robbie Robertson, who is nearing 1,000 yards of total offense on the season. Meanwhile, Carrollwood RB Robert Davis has been slowed by a nagging knee problem but still managed 151 yards last week and now has 1,120 on the season, with 13 touchdowns. The Lancers' defense will have to slow Davis for a shot at the win, which would maintain any chance they have of a playoff spot. The Patriots, meanwhile, could find themselves in trouble if they are peeking ahead at next week's meeting with district front-runner Indian Rocks Christian.
Clearwater Central Catholic (5-1, 1-0) at Berkeley Prep (6-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Both teams were off.
Why you should go: Both teams had two weeks to get ready for this game. CCC is hoping the extra time pays off. The Marauders haven't beaten Berkeley Prep in five years. A CCC win would be huge in Class 3A, District 5, as CCC has already topped Tampa Catholic in district play. A Berkeley win would have the Bucs prepping for the playoffs. If the playoff-type pressure wasn't enough for CCC, it also has to deal with trying to end Berkeley's 20-game regular season winning streak and a 19-game home field winning streak.
CCC is led by QB Blake Gomez (six TDs passing this season) and RB Diquan Walker (six TDs.) and a defense that is yielding less than nine points a game. The unbeaten Bucs will counter with Chris Williams (841 yards, 11 TDs) and sophomore QB Brad Mayes (seven TD passes).
Lakewood (6-0, 5-0 in 5A-8) at Jesuit (5-2, 5-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Lakewood defeated Lennard 65-0; Jesuit defeated Dunedin 24-6
Why you should go: This game will likely mean a playoff spot for the winner. Since Jesuit lost 31-10 to Robinson on Sept. 14, its defense hasn't allowed a point. That's three straight shutouts, then last week's game against Dunedin where the Falcons' only points were on a kickoff return. This may end up being a defensive battle, say in the 14-10 range, considering that Lakewood has only allowed nine points all year, while scoring 265. The playmaking group from south St. Petersburg is headed by QB Tracy Johnson, who had only seven completions last week — five going for touchdowns.
Merritt Island Christian vs. Seffner Christian (3-3) at Armwood, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Merritt Island Christian defeated Ocoee Legacy Charter 28-21; Shorecrest defeated Seffner Christian 35-7.
Why you should go: To see if Seffner Christian can snap its three-game losing streak. After a promising start, the Crusaders have hit the skids. They will look to shore up its pass defense and limit big plays, but Merritt Island won't make it easy. The Cougars have averaged 33 points a game in their last three outings, all victories.